Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where We Stand

With 6 games left in the men's regular season and 4 left in the women's regular season, it's time for a quick season reset - so there's no mistaking where the Engineers stand as the season winds to a close.

Men
The top four teams receive first round byes, while the bottom four teams visit the middle four teams in the first round: 12 vs. 5, 11 vs. 6, 10 vs. 7, and 9 vs. 8.

RPI is in 5th place with 18 points and an 8-6-1 record. There are six games and 12 potential points remaining for a highest possible finish of 30 points.

Colgate, one point behind in 6th place, has a game in hand, which will disappear next Tuesday with a home game against Cornell. After that game, each ECAC team will have played 18 league games and will have 4 games left to play.

The Engineers have essentially, if not mathematically, secured at least home ice for the first round of the playoffs, as the average requirement for home ice over the years has been 17 points. They cannot finish in 12th and are unlikely to finish any lower than 9th, even if they were to lose their remaining six games.

They technically do not control their own destiny for the first-round bye right now, but more often than not the Engineers will earn the bye by taking 9 or more of the remaining 12 points. With 7 or 8 points, they would need a bit of help. The bye becomes very unlikely with 5 or 6 points and essentially impossible with 4 or less points. A win over Harvard AND a St. Lawrence loss to Quinnipiac AND a Colgate loss or tie with Yale places RPI in control of its own destiny.

RPI loses a head-to-head tiebreaker with St. Lawrence, who sits one point ahead in 4th place, the final first-round bye position, by virtue of the Saints taking 3 points in the season series.

They lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Union, who sits four points ahead in the 3rd seed position, by virtue of the Dutchmen sweeping the season series.

The Engineers win a head-to-head tiebreaker with Yale, who sits four points ahead in the 2nd seed position, by virtue of their season series sweep.

They lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Cornell, who sits four points ahead in 1st place, with anything but a victory at Lynah Rink on the final day of the regular season. A win that forced a tie would likely go to the 3rd tie-breaker, records against the top 4 teams in the league.

RPI is unlikely to win multiple tiebreakers with St. Lawrence, even in a three-way tie with Yale. Therefore, in order to finish with a higher seed than the Saints, RPI must finish with more points.

In the first meetings with their remaining opponents, the Engineers earned a total of 7 points.

Best case results this weekend:
Friday
RPI over Harvard
Dartmouth over Union
Brown over Cornell
Colgate over Yale
Quinnipiac over St. Lawrence

Saturday
RPI over Dartmouth
Cornell over Yale
Harvard over Union
Princeton over St. Lawrence
Brown over Colgate

Tuesday
If RPI has a 2 or more point lead on Colgate: Colgate over Cornell
If not: Cornell over Colgate

Women
The top eight teams make the playoffs, with the top 4 hosting the middle 4. 8 vs. 1, 7 vs. 2, 6 vs. 3, and 5 vs. 4.

RPI is in 5th place with 22 points and a 9-5-4 record, presently winning the 2nd tiebreaker with Quinnipiac on league wins. There are four games and 8 potential points remaining for a highest possible finish of 30 points.

Each team has played 18 games and has 4 remaining.

The Engineers can clinch a playoff spot with a win on Friday over Harvard OR a Union victory over Dartmouth OR a tie and a Dartmouth tie or loss AND a Yale loss or tie to Colgate.

They control their own destiny for home-ice - if they win the remainder of their games, they can finish no worse than a tie for 4th with Harvard, and they would win the tiebreaker. With a tie or a loss to Harvard on Friday, they would no longer control their destiny. They can finish no lower than 9th.

Brown and Union, with 3 points each, cannot make the playoffs.

RPI is one point behind 4th place St. Lawrence for the final home ice position. They lose a head-to-head tie-breaker with the Saints due to SLU's sweep of the season series.

They are two points behind 3rd place Harvard. They can clinch the head-to-head tie-breaker with a win or a tie against the Crimson on Friday. A win would move RPI into such a tie, although an Quinnipiac win over St. Lawrence would create a three-way tie for 3rd. The Engineers would then win such a three-way tiebreak.

The Engineers are four points behind 2nd place Cornell. A win over the Big Red at Lynah Rink on the last weekend of the season would likely give RPI a potential head-to-head tiebreaker on league wins.

They are two points ahead of 7th place Princeton. A tiebreaker is likely to go to the 3rd round, record against top 4 teams, which presently depends largely upon the result of Saturday's Princeton-St. Lawrence matchup.

In the first meetings with their remaining opponents, the Engineers earned a total of 6 points.

Best case results this weekend:
Friday
RPI over Harvard
Quinnipiac over St. Lawrence
Colgate over Yale
Brown over Cornell
Princeton over Clarkson

Saturday
RPI over Dartmouth
Union over Harvard
Princeton over St. Lawrence
Yale over Cornell
Quinnipiac over Clarkson

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